Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during an address at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Melbourne, on May 6. William West/AFP/Getty Images
Australia will allow its citizens and permanent residents to return from India as of May 15, ending a controversial entry ban on anyone who has been in India over the past 14 days.
The ban is being enforced with a possible five-year jail term, a fine of $51,000 or both.
There are around 9,000 Australians in India who have officially informed the Australian government that they would like to return home, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He said 900 of those people are classified as “vulnerable.”
While commercial flights will not resume, Morrison said the Australian federal government will put on three repatriation flights between May 15 and 31.
Only Australia citizens, permanent residents and travelers from New Zealand can enter Australia, with few exceptions. All must undergo 14 days in state quarantine on arrival.
Around 40,000 Australians worldwide have told the government they want to return, with just over 5,000 places in quarantine available each week.
Morrison’s government has denied criticism that banning entries from India alone was racist. The Prime Minister said Friday the entry ban “is working as it was intended to” in keeping Covid-19 out of Australia.
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